His aim is true: ‘Trajectory Heart’ by Thomas Mann pops up in Center City Allentown
Thomas Mann, Penn State Lehigh Valley Artist in Residence for July 2017, is at the heart of several art events throughout the Lehigh Valley this summer. The former Allentown resident and a successful jewelry designer and sculptor moved to New Orleans after attending a jazz fest there in 1977.
A two-day “Design for Survival” workshop where Mann returns to teach “Entrepreneurial Thinking & Tactics for Artists” is 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. July 21 and 22, Baum School of Art, Allentown. Mann has been presenting these workshops on small business management and career development for artists of all mediums since 1989.
“My own business is evolving and ‘e-volving’ into a new business format that has a lot more to do with intellectual properties than with actual objects. The object-making is becoming more challenging, to be able to make things and find an audience for them,” says Mann of the contemporary art market.
Day one attendees will learn about design vocabularies, public relations, and pricing work. On day two, participants can “make presentations of their own work and business practice for a positive critique by Tom and fellow workshop members,” according to the workshop brochure.
Mann presents a lecture, “Artist as Artrepreneur,” 11 a.m. - noon, with lunch, noon - 1 p.m. July 20, Allentown Art Museum of the Lehigh Valley, “where I describe how the conditions in the world have changed for artists and how we have to go about our survival, to be artists,” says Mann.
Other events featuring the PSU-LV Artist in Residence revolve around Thomas Mann’s “Trajectory Heart Lehigh Valley” project hosted by Penn State Lehigh Valley, in partnership with local art organizations and businesses. Area artists and students assisted Mann in building a large heart-like sculpture at the RE:find Gallery on the Walk in Allentown from July 7 - 13. The completed Trajectory Heart was then put on a trailer and photographed around the Lehigh Valley.
Ann Lalik, gallery director and arts coordinator at PSU-LV, says the area project is similar to community art projects Mann started in 2009 at the Studios of Key West in Florida where he created his first 14-foot-tall “Trajectory Heart.”
“At another point in time he did this in LA, he did this in New Orleans where he lives, and in 2015 he did it in Tasmania, New Zealand,” says Lalik.
Mann, a 1970 graduate of East Stroudsburg University, says of his undergrad work, “My degree is in performing arts, specifically set design and lighting,” continuing, “I built models of all of the sets I designed and then I would build them big.” The skills he acquired in designing and building to scale apply to his jewelry design and sculpture.
Mann has been a full-time practicing professional artist for more than 40 years. His work has been featured in American Craft Magazine, Ornament, Metalsmith, the British magazine Crafts, and The New York Times. His work appears in several books on contemporary jewelry, including “Thomas Mann, Metal Artist.” He has served three times as Keynote Speaker at The National Arts Educators Conference.
The “Assembling Thomas Mann” exhibit and reception for the “Trajectory Heart Lehigh Valley” project is 6 p.m. - 9 p.m. July 20, Penn State/RE:find Pop Up Gallery, 645 Hamilton St., Allentown (Moravian Book Shop former Allentown location). “Trajectory Heart,” as well as other pieces Mann created, will be displayed there through Aug. 27. Eventually, the newly-created sculpture is expected to be on permanent display in Allentown.
RE:find at City Center, 27 N. Seventh St., Allentown, features an exhibit and sale of Mann’s jewelry through the end of August.
Information: 610-841-4866. Information on “Trajectory Heart Lehigh Valley”: lehighvalley.psu.edu/trajectory-heart-project-thomas-mann, or call 610-285-5261. Tuition for the two-day workshop has a 25 percent discount for Lehigh Valley Arts Council members. Tickets for the “Artist as Artrepreneur” lecture included a light lunch. Information and to register: lvartsboxoffice.org.